IS IT TIME FOR A REMODEL
Though it is virtually impossible to change your location (portable courses exempted) it is very possible and often desirable to change your existing course. Signs of a needed change are often easy to recognize. Here are just a few.
Often the signs are obvious such as:
- Carpet that is worn and torn with separating seams and vanishing fibers.
- Bricks and pavers that have been glued are coming loose and being moved.
- There is a pattern of annoying and continuing maintenance issues; often related to your water system.
- Declining revenue and attendance; some players even walk off the course.
Sometimes the signs are less apparent such as:
- You sense that your course needs a new attitude; it’s lost that WOW feeling.
- Your staff is less enthusiastic about your once new and dynamic course.
- Too many customer reviews on the internet are negative.
- There are potential liability issues with tripping hazards and easily accessible water.
- You are receiving few compliments and hearing more complaints from customers as the depart.
Levels of makeover and remodel for your miniature course
Having decided that the site is still viable you are faced with deciding how extensive should our remodel or make over be. Based on your analysis of the issues, you will find that some changes are critical, and others may be more of a luxury given your circumstances.
In some markets with limited budgets the most essential elements are a fresh face providing a new look that tells the public you care about their experience. This type of remodel would typically involve new carpet and replacement of curbs, refreshed landscape by pruning and new plantings, restoration of any decaying theme elements, new bridges and ropes, and improved lighting. As you can see, this is largely a matter of a new look based on extensive restoration without the addition of new elements.
In other larger markets with greater potential and competition for the family entertainment dollar, the remodel would extend to a real makeover; a fresh dose of excitement that might include new imagery and special effects. These might be in addition to the essential elements noted previously. Examples might include rebuilding old style golf course holes by adding elevations changes and new playing characteristics, new waterscape and rockscape are considerations, adding visual elements and replacing or restoring deteriorating structures with new, adding new sensory effects such as sound and LED lighting on the course, incorporating interactive elements. New technologies bring new possibilities.
Because each circumstance is unique, your approach to remodels and makeovers will have to fit your situation. And more than likely it will be some blending of the two levels we have discussed.
Two recent projects are described below to illustrate two types of remodel and makeover that were completed in the past year.
CASE 1. Extensive renovation of a large course in South Carolina
During 2012 the Godley brothers, operators of the highly regarded Frankie’s Fun Parks in South Carolina, determined that it was time to make their 54 hole miniature golf course more exciting, improve playability, address some maintenance needs, and grow the revenue…a pretty comprehensive set of needs. Because the work was so extensive a site visit was arranged to do an analysis of the required work and develop a proposal to complete the desired makeover. What follows is a list of the additions and rebuilds:
- Brick curbing was removed and replaced with Castle’s steel reinforced PermaCurb system. These changes were coordinated with carpet replacement throughout.
- Artificial, sculpted rock was added to pond edges, integrated into new hole curbing and then all given a fresh coat of “rock look” stain.
- Several ponds and rivers were realigned to blend with a number of the rebuilt golf holes making them more playable and interesting.
- All of the theme structures were replaced with new elements reflecting Coastal South Carolina such as the light house, harbor scene and a Charleston street view.
- Bridges were given a new coat of preservative and painted as needed.
- Wooden pole obstacles were replaced with artificial rock elements.
- A number of selected holes were replaced with new and different hole styles through the course.
- Overgrown plantings were removed and replaced with plants and fresh ground cover materials.
- Deteriorating ropes and poles were replaced as needed for a fresh look.
CASE 2. Remodel of a modest course in Missouri
In the fall of 2012 Castle was asked to propose a plan for the repair and redesign of a 10,000 s.f. course at the newly acquired Arena Golf Center in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. The course was small, the holes flat and edged with loose bricks, carpet was worn and loose, and fountains were failing. The course simply looked tired and drab. Making use of Google Earth and photos and concerns provided by the new owner, Bryan Johnson, we were able to propose a number of modifications in addition to addressing the fundamental maintenance issues. Here is what was done:
- Old vegetation and crushed rock were removed, though a few quality trees and shrubs were left in place.
- Failing water fountains and pond were removed.
- Several old obstacles and a small deteriorating covered bridge were removed.
- The Google Earth overview revealed that there was an additional 2,000 s.f. that could be added to the course which enabled us to remove a number of the existing holes and build new holes, enlarge and create new surfaces on the majority of the retained holes.
- Brick curbs were removed and as part of building new holes and modifying the existing holes, PermaCurbs were installed. Old carpet was also replaced with new at this time.
- New water features were added with fountains, and this created the opportunity for a new bridge hole.
- New holes and waterscapes were enhanced with sculpted rock edges and putting obstacles that became part of more interesting hole surfaces.
“I can’t believe what they were able to do with my old, out-dated mini golf course! They took my budget, my extra space and remodeled that old putt putt into a fun, yet very challenging course as only Castle can! The true beauty of the project is that even the old holes look brand new with much more contour and challenge. And customers are absolutely loving it. One regular patron said ‘it’s 100 times better.’ What more could I ask?